Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Getting Back on My Feet

In some ways, the most interesting educational experiences and testing I have been doing has been to become re-acquainted with my own body after my accident. I never imagined I would be dealing with so many issues or having to reconsider how I did,well, everything. It's been an interesting road and I've learned a few things along the way.

First, the human body really wants to move. It's a dynamic thing, and while there is a time to stop and let it heal, after a point the best "medicine" for a leg is to walk on it. I took my first extended steps last Thursday on my first day back to work. The distance to work from CalTrain to my office building is 4 blocks. On that Thursday, those four blocks felt like a marathon! However, with each passing day, that distance feels less arduous, and my leg is adjusting to the pace. So is the rest of my body.

At a certain point, your body knows when it has had enough rest. My wife and kids sequestered me to my bedroom this past weekend, concerned that I was overdoing it. To humor them, I complied. The funny thing was, my leg ached more after a weekend of "rest" than it did during the two previous days when I had been up and walking. Also, this morning, after walking to and from work yesterday, my leg was less achy than it had been over the weekend when I "rested". The body knows when it's time.

Having said that, it's entirely possible to over do it as well. I have to be a little careful; while I do have a plate holding together my tibia providing additional structural integrity, I still have a mending fibula with no additional support outside of my cast. I was initially concerned about this, until my dad explained that there have been cases where people have had their entire fibula's removed with little to no discernible effects (granted, it's not an optimal condition, but compared to the tibia, the fibula is a minor support player). BE that as it may, if I flex it in an odd manner, I definitely feel it!

I considered what would be the best way to get around, and I debated the one vs. two crutch approach. Two crutches are a lot to carry and necessitate a swing walking approach that is, well, tiring. Using just one crutch on the opposite side of the body from the break allows for support of the leg at the level I need while still letting me apply enough muscle pressure to exercise the muscles in my leg and put some stress on the bones so they can grow stronger.

I'm not breaking any land speed records just yet, and I'll admit that I'm still moving a lot slower than I used to, but I can see and feel a bit of progress each day. It's tiring, to be sure, and I am out of shape after nearly a month's bed rest, but I'm 25 pounds lighter, so that's less weight I have to haul around, and the muscles are starting to respond (including the left arm, since it has to take up some of the slack :) ). I'm still in for a long recovery, but I'm making progress, and right now, that's all that matters.


Lisa said...

Wow, you can already walk on it, that is so cool! (OK, it doesn't feel like 'already' to you). I think inactivity and having your leg in a non-weight-bearing cast causes more problems in the long term than the original injury. Sounds like you are well on the road to a relatively speedy recovery!

Michael Larsen said...

Like I said, I'm not setting any land speed records, and I'm feeling every bit of those four blocks when I walk them. Yesterday the north gate of the train station was closed and I had to walk all the way around the train platform to get to my car. I'll admit, I groaned a bit about that,but I survived (LOL!). Really put a lot of things into perspective, I'll tell ya' :).